Donut County took me a little over an hour to beat. So, basically, you sneeze, and you’re already halfway through the game. It was also a game that had me questioning if, perhaps, I’d suffered a stroke.
The story basically boils down to the fact that Donut County has been taken over by raccoons who are using a phone app to “Deliver Donuts.” I put air quotes around that, because what the app actually does is create holes in the ground that consume objects and people and grow with everything they eat.
The raccoons are using the holes to get rid of trash… or to steal it… it’s not very clear. Basically, it’s like a fever dream of someone who is waaaaay too high.
Anyway, you control the holes and try to devour everything in the level.
This sounds, on its face, like it should be an absolutely amazing game along the lines of Katamari Damacy or Nobby Nobby Boy. What it actually turns out to be is a game that is so relentlessly quirky that it falls flat on its face.
Gather ‘Round the Campfire
Most of the game’s story is told by the various residents of Donut County as they sit around a campfire somewhere deep beneath the surface of the Earth. They take turns explaining that they ordered donuts, only for a hole to appear and consume everything in the area.
Between these stories, it seems like the residents are trying to decide if BK, the raccoon they ordered donuts from, is to blame for their circumstances. This is about as deep and coherent as the story gets, since the longer you play the more unhinged the game becomes.
I was hoping that the gameplay would be the redeeming feature of this game…
Boy, was I wrong.
The game could basically play itself. Aside from a couple of minor puzzles in the later levels, the very simple premise of “have everything fall into the hole” is almost mind numbing. There is also no sense of urgency. Because there is no timed aspect, so you can take all the time in the world moving your hole around until you’ve consumed everything.
By the third level I was feeling completely underwhelmed and ready for something to change. Unfortunately, it wasn’t until over halfway through the game that they started adding mildly interesting puzzles and gameplay mechanics.
One Person’s Trash is a Raccoon’s Treasure
My favorite part of Donut County was the Trashopedia. Basically, it’s a compendium of all the stuff that you have thrown into the hole.
What makes it great is that the descriptions of each item are from the point of view of a raccoon. So a shovel becomes a “dirt spoon” and a milk crate is described as “the worst place to pour your milk.”
While it’s only a small portion of the game as a whole, this is the part that brought me joy.
On the Whole (Hole?)
Donut County is not worth the twelve dollars they charge on the Playstation Network. I bought it on sale, so that makes me feel a little bit better, but not much. It was clearly an attempt to break into the cult of “bizarre yet oddly satisfying” games, but fell so short of the mark that I’m pretty sure it went backwards somewhere.
I’m giving it 4/10.
The best thing I can say about Donut County is that you could use it to teach your kids how to play a video game, which is better than nothing… I guess.